MIAMI LAKES, Fla. -- CruisePath Network, which provides a Web-based cruise-booking tool for travel agents, will cease operations in early June after filing for liquidation under Chapter 7.

CruisePath, which had been operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since November, had sought to discontinue operations May 5, but the bankruptcy court postponed the move for 30 days at the request of travel agent Dan Bohan, chief operating officer of Omega World Travel in Fairfax, Va.

Bohan argued that it was in travel agencies' best interest to keep CruisePath in business temporarily, buying time for agencies to find another cruise-booking solution.

Bohan's company hopes to offer one such alternative with CruiseBase, its homegrown cruise shopping/booking/reporting tool for agents.

Travel firms weigh options to failing CruisePath

Bohan said he hopes to "aggressively market" the technology to other agencies.

CruiseBase, which will link to Sabre for inventory from nine cruise lines, has been in the works for some time, but Omega could not move forward while CruisePath had a deal in place with Sabre, Bohan said.

CruisePath, in which Sabre holds a minority stake, said it wanted to move to Chapter 7 liquidation because prospects for reorganization did not materialize. Formerly known as GoCruiseDirect.com, the company has 300 to 400 direct agency customers, according to president John Stewart.

Sabre licenses the tool and offers it to GDS subscribers.

CruisePath is no longer accessible via Worldspan, a spokeswoman said.

After CruisePath goes away, Sabre said it will continue to provide agents shopping and booking capability with its Cruise Director product, a solution that isn't Web-based.

A Sabre spokeswoman said the company is "looking at a number of options" to replace CruisePath.

Amadeus said it sees an opportunity to further penetrate the market with its Web-based cruise-booking tool, Amadeus Cruise. Amadeus said 6,000 U.S. agency locations already have Amadeus Cruise; about three-quarters are Amadeus GDS subscribers.

The CruiseShoppes consortium, which has a distribution agreement with CruisePath, is in the "advanced stages" of lining up alternative automated arrangements for its members.

In the meantime, CruiseShoppes president Shawn Tubman said agencies could find a quick, short-term solution.

"There are a number of companies out there that offer alternatives," he said. "I don't think it's going to be a major problem."

Al Hoffman, president of The Cutting Edge Cruises in La Grangeville, N.Y., has used CruisePath through his CruiseShoppes affiliation, and although the unified booking format across nine cruise brands made it easy to train outside agents, he said he wasn't eager to replace the automated system.

During the two months his agency offered CruisePath's consumer booking engine on its Web site, only four customers used it to make reservations.

"I don't know whether I'm going to pursue other avenues or wait and see," Hoffman said. "I don't need it."

Cruise lines that had signed with CruisePath pointed to their own online booking sites for agents, which are free.

Carnival launched its own booking engine, available at bookccl.com, about five weeks ago, a spokeswoman said.

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